Last December I challenged myself to tell a story through a string of 25 daily tweets leading up to Christmas. This year I wanted to kick #xoTweetmas into high gear by inviting other people to join in the fun. In the spirit of encouraging people to write during the busy holiday season, I challenged other writers, tweet-ers, and creative people in general to post their own original 25-tweet stories throughout the month alongside me. To celebrate the end of another amazing year of #xoTweetmas, I’m sharing everyone’s stories below. Take a look at what these creative beauties came up with! Enjoy!
Story By: @xoJamieStewart: Deserted
You’ve always thought scarab was a game like backgammon but it’s been weeks and you suspect the diggers are up to something.
The site is humid. And sandy; obviously. You knew there wouldn’t exactly be lagoons here. One of them stops and looks your way.
Sweat pools above his lip. Makes you think of the showers you’ve not taken. “Hey I think you’d move more sand if you dug.”
Your middle finger rejoins the shovel. You’ve been given trough duty. Clear the ground around the ruins, castle-moat style.
The work sucks. The pay’s not much better. But last year the alimony checks started coming less and less frequently.
Gamal’s skin is, well it’s down right delicious. So is his face. But as you fling dirt aside you picture his head on a warthog.
Or a hippo. Something globular. Unattractive. You focus on the chalky bricks. Kick them with your work boot. They crumble.
“I. Need. Water.” You cough dryly through the dust. Gamal grunts, granting you a thirty second break. You enter.
The site is on the outskirts of an ancient burial ground. Your boss stands inside the temple moving pieces around on a table.
“I got a kid, Jer. I need last week’s pay.” Jerry picks up a scrap and hands it to you. “We find this thing, you’ll get paid.”
Before you can reply, Jerry walks out, having had enough of excavated dirt for the day. The water jug gurgles. You drink.
“Yo, Princess. Get your proud pants back out here,” Gamal calls. You walk to the table and unscrew the cap on his canteen. Oops.
“You see that?” Gamal uses his palm for a visor. You walk over to him. Jerry’s jeep thunders away, kicking up dust.
“So he’s leaving,” you say. “S’not the first time.” The sun is just starting to dip. He’ll be back by moonrise. Or else-
“Caracals,” Gamal says, still staring. You cock your hip. “What? You’re not telling me you’re scared, are you?
Gamal resumes digging. “You didn’t hear them barking at Cody last night. Those cats’ll rip you apart if you’re not careful.”
You can’t resist. “Scaredy-cat,” you tease. You dodge a spray of debris. “Missed.” Then you pick up your tool and dig.
The sky is a wet color, like slick writing ink. It’s hours later. No sign of Jerry. Abandoned. “What was that?” You freeze.
You barricaded the temple so nothing could get in. It was his job to make sure there weren’t any cats already inside.
“Don’t move,” you say. Moonlight shines through the absent ceiling. Something slinks in the shadows near the table.
“Jeez! Is that a cat!” Gamal shouts, piercing the night silence. The animal doesn’t seem to care. He takes another step.
Mouth open, he laps from the puddle of spilt canteen water. The moonlight reflects off his glossy, pointed teeth.
You pick a slab from the table and hurl it at the wall. It breaks, spooking the cat. A shiny piece bounces to the floor.
The token is a gold colored beetle piece, no taller than your thumb. “What’s that?” you ask. Gamal scoops up the jewel.
“That my, fearless friend, is our ticket out of here. Burn your shovel, Princess. We just hit the jackpot.”
Story By: @willowylungs:
Ilmur’s mother was still alive when the moon sank into the sea. It didn’t even crack the ice. Just plunged right down.
Time froze then, and trapped the populace of Ilmur’s tiny coastal hamlet in the dark before the dawn. A bottomless indigo night.
One by one, all the mariners sailed out to catch the moon, but none ever returned from those voyages into the cold.
Now the village was gone, and only Ilmur remained among the snowy skeletons of the wooden huts. The drowning moon called to her.
She dragged her mother’s canoe through the slush and down to the frozen shore, in the company of only the ever-watchful stars.
Behind her, the crescent of mountains loomed like harpoons waiting to be loosed at the heavens. Ilmur hoped she had enough rope.
She set out rowing into the horizon. The slabs of floating ice scraped roughly against the sides of her boat, marring the wood.
The sound reminded Ilmur of her mother, and how she used to carve logs into small effigies of animals for Ilmur to play with.
She loved the wolf most, for it too was drawn to the moon. Ilmur was sure her heart would melt when at last she found it.
Though she so adored her mother’s stories, Ilmur knew they would never compare to the real thing, once she saw it for herself.
Ilmur imagined she wouldn’t much mind drowning so long as she laid eyes on the moon first. Then she would gladly join the dead.
So she rowed and rowed, until the sight of the shore vanished, and then she kept rowing. No birds followed her out. No wind.
Her boat was nothing more than an almond caught in the frozen teeth of a never-ending jaw. She wove slowly through the ice.
Ilmur watched the sky, and knew the patch of starless black where the moon should have hung. A scar on the face of the night.
She stopped rowing beneath it, and took the rope in hand. The heavy furs that covered her were useless where she was going.
Ilmur smiled, shed her cloak, and dove. She felt no cold, just a smooth embrace of crystal. Something shined in the deep below.
The moon glowed even from the bottom of the sea. Ilmur plunged lower still, hands outstretched towards the heavenly light.
She couldn’t tell how long she dove for until her fingertips touched the surface of the moon. All she knew was its warmth.
It was barely the size of a dinner plate. But Ilmur lifted it from the sand at the bottom of the sea and held it to her heart.
She didn’t even need the rope. The saltwater and the light in her hands stung her eyes, but she swam skyward regardless.
By the time she breached the surface of the water, all sensation of having a body had left her. There was only the moon.
Ilmur climbed into her boat and found that the light no longer blinded her. The cold was merely a memory, like her mother.
The moon was smaller now, but no less bright; it fit in just one of Ilmur’s hands. Like it belonged there. Like it was home.
She looked to the empty sky for a long while, then back to the moon cradled in her palm. Priceless, beautiful, and hers.
Ilmur smiled to herself in the boundless night, then slipped the moon into the pocket of her cloak, and rowed for shore.
Story By: @heroine_k:
There were two rules in the city of Mareva: Never go inside(or think of) the old palace, and always have a gnome with you.
Gnomes always tell the truth, so Marevan police & parents got their information from people’s gnomes. Glem’s gnome was a liar.
Glem had curly hair & loved tongue-color-changing candy. Her gnome had a holey blue hat & read too much nihilistic philosophy.
Glem loved heights. The forbidden old palace was the tallest, and it was impossible to climb. Until Glem got a grappling hook.
The old palace was made of black metal that had no windows, doors, or footholds. No one alive had ever seen what was inside.
So, Glem had to consult ghosts. Human ghosts weren’t bad, but gnome ghosts were much grumpier than the living ones.
Glem liked grumpy. She kept one of the gnome ghosts she found, who came with her mostly because he had nothing better to do.
Glem’s gnome did not appreciate this, mostly because the existence of ghosts contradicted his denial of life after death.
The gnome ghost(Cartridge) knew the way into the old palace. Glem’s gnome(Blim) said we can never really “know” anything.
Cartridge couldn’t draw (ghost side effect) so he described the secret passage to Glem. As she drew, the lines came alive.
The spell keeping out intruders applied to maps. Glem’s drawing became a 3D old palace. The old palace stuck its tongue out.
Unlike most Marevans, when Glem saw defensive spells, she had an unhealthy desire to break them. Blim did not discourage this.
Cartridge had had bad experiences with spells, most of them ending in green hair, a plethora of tadpoles, and once, his death.
So they decided to go the brute force route with Glem’s grappling hook made from mammoth teeth, grass, and wishful thinking.
With a gnome on each shoulder, Glem threw her hook and climbed up the black walls of the old palace. She reached for the top—
–and someone took her hand.
The hand holding Glem had blue tattoos of chess pieces. Its owner wore a dress & a knight helmet. “I’m very sorry,” they said.
The lady knight cut the cord of Glem’s grappling hook, and let her go. Glem fell. Nothing stopped her.
“She’s a nice girl,” Cartridge said to the guardian of ghosts. “Big dreams. Not ready to die yet.” “That’s what they all say.”
“If she dies, so does Blim. And we all know how nihilists adjust to the afterlife.” “They don’t,” sighed the ghost guardian.
“I can’t blur the line between life and death, but there’s another I can thin. You know any physics?” Cartridge took notes.
Cartridge returned to the living and whispered to Glem. Blim pretended he hadn’t missed him. Glem fell. Then she flew.
The ground became her sky and she passed through it. Black walls became white on the other side, a mirror of the old palace.
At the top of the new palace, a girl with blue armor and a crown took Glem’s hand. They watched the view of the reversed world.
Cartridge held Blim’s hand, even though the gnome denied the ghost’s existence. There were no rules in the city of Averam.
Story By: @helenkarmstrong:
Human beings get frustrated sometimes.
Aphrodite must remember this, in her future dealings with them.
“I apologize.” Her voice rings with the bells and winds of thousands of years of beauty. She picks up a small silver screw.
“No, no, it’s not your fault.” The IKEA worker who delivered the couch is beautiful, and she takes the screw from Aphrodite.
“These things are notoriously hard to assemble and my partner’s sick so it’s just me here and I’ve never done it alone before.”
“And these instructions.” She shrugs, laughs. “It’s all Greek to me.” Aphrodite’s ears perk up. “Oh! I speak Greek!”
The girl – Steph – pretends to laugh. “Yeah? High school? College? I took a semester of Latin.” She hammers in a nail.
Latin? Aphrodite scoffs and leans back against the wall, arranging her flowing purple dress around her. She feels overdressed.
“You go to college, you end up working at IKEA anyway.” Steph hammers in another nail. Aphrodite feels the air shiver.
When she chose to mingle with humans and explore New York City, she didn’t expect it to involve so many boring conversations.
Honestly, she hadn’t been sure what to expect at all; this lack of experience had bothered her for the better part of a century.
Many questioned her decision to leave Olympus and take on the Big Apple alone. Apollo had warned her, “The men are vicious.”
“And the women are not? This is precisely why they need me,” Aphrodite had responded with an upward tilt of her chin.
“Why do you not quit?” she asks now. It’s a genuine question. With so many options and “jobs” why stay?
“Oh I want to,” Steph says. “But money. You know.” Aphrodite is a glorified heiress, and she does not, in fact, know.
Aphrodite raises an eyebrow. The very suggestion that Steph was at her level – that she would ever – “No. Not an offer.”
Steph doesn’t stay long after that. She finishes the couch in awkward silence.
After she goes, Aphrodite is left sitting on the couch, wondering how to navigate this city and its plain, boring people.
Story By: @GraceMangum:
If my college dorm were a person, her name would be Jackie. She’d have wild frizzy curls & at least one shoe constantly untied.
Jackie has no idea who she is or what she wants. Is she an athlete? (She smells like one.) Is she a party girl? (Only always.)
Is she an amateur chef? (The amount of bacon that gets burned in her second floor kitchen suggests yes, QUITE the amateur.)
She’s always trying something new, even though her furniture hasn’t changed in about 57 years &her walls are slightly yellow.
If there’s one thing that Jackie doesn’t understand, it’s the concept of the “inside voice.” She tries her best to keep it down.
But if it’s quiet between 11pm & 8 in the morning, you can bet she has either fallen asleep or taken her party elsewhere.
Still, I’ll say this much: even when most of her lights are out for the night, there is always some part of Jackie that’s awake.
At any given 4am, you can find a senior English major flying frantically through the last 20 pages of her thesis (due tomorrow).
Or you could just as easily find a freshman flying through the last 3 seasons of Friends. (Studying, after all, is for losers.)
Jackie is the life of the party. Her arms are always open (particularly if you wedge a rug under the side door just right…
…that’s how boys sneak in after hours. Their reasons are, of course, noble and purely academic. Study sessions and the like.)
Really though, if anyone wants to hang out, Jackie’s is the default spot. She is, after all, located at the heart of campus.
She could not be more conveniently placed: 100yds from the dining hall &a 3-minute walk from any class you could possibly take!
But the perks go beyond locale; being in the center of the social landscape equates being in the center of everyone’s business.